ULTRA C.Viper Match-up Thread

Balrog: Health 1050, Stun 1000

Balrog is regarded as having some of the best normals in the game. His 3 frame cr.LP alone causes problems for many characters trying to put pressure on him, not only interrupting them, but leading to devastating combos. The combination of quick, far-reaching normals and the speedy horizontal movement of his special attacks make him a punishment machine, able to make you lament any mistake. Being a “charge character”, players that use him learn to be patient and maintain a strong defense. This allows them to maintain a charge, wait for you to make a mistake, or sit on a life lead. His Turn Punch gives him a way out of zoning, along with some of his EX special moves gaining super armor properties. The dual nature of his playstyle, being able to rush down one second and extremely defensive the next, can be very hard to deal with if you don’t know what to look out for.

-Can punish many moves other characters might not be able to
-Execution isn’t very demanding beyond good timing
-Deals good damage
-Becomes very strong with the use of meter
-Excelent normals including anti-airs and jump ins
-Is comfortable playing offensively and defensively
-Slightly above average health
-Must have a charge stored to do special moves
-Wakeup options are limited
-Some specials can be grabbed
-Lacks a high damage combo to Ultra although it provides good postioning

Characters with a strong set of normals can be troublesome for Viper, and Balrog is no exception. The relatively slow startup of her normals and specials make her ripe for counter hits and frame traps. Being inside sweep range can be downright dangerous, and throwing out random special attacks will get you beat REAL quick, so it’s important to learn the tendencies of Balrog players, make good predictions, and make any kind of punish opportunity count. Cross-up heavy rushdown can be a useful style against Balrog due to his charge requirements, however it’s important to be aware of his wakeup options (limited though they are), and again, 3 frame cr.LP. There are ways to deal with his special attacks in terms of beating them out, that will help greatly in this matchup. Keep in mind that all of his dashing punch style special attacks have a minimum of 13 frames of a dash for the LP Dash Straight all the way up to 51 frames for the HP and EX Dash Swing Blow, so beating them relies heavily on timing your attacks vs. his. Being at point blank range with Balrog stops his dash and does the attack automatically so spacing is also an issue.

Dash Straight - Balrog’s simple dashing punch. LP Thunder Knuckles are great at stopping these, as they go under the hitbox. The only problem is that if you just throw out LP Thunder Knuckles all day, Balrog only has to delay his Dash Straight to catch you in your recovery. As with many of Balrog’s dashing moves, certain heights of Burning Kick will also beat them out. Some players that predict a Dash Straight will super jump straight up and do a Burning Kick, putting you at just the right height to catch Balrog out of it. Alternatively, as with many other character’s moves, a properly timed EX Seismic Hammer will allow the punch to go through you, and pop Balrog up in the air for whatever follow up move you choose. EX version of this move gains super armor, giving more incentive to use LP Thunder Knuckle as a solution to break the armor. A quick normal with good range can be used to hit Balrog out of it’s startup, giving you a counter hit, though this can be difficult at certain ranges and against quicker versions.

Dash Upper - Most of the same rules apply here, but it’s important to be aware that this is a very useful move for Balrog, because the EX version allows him to link afterward, continuing his combo and dealing large amounts of stun. Keep this in mind when he has meter. At certain ranges, this move is better at hitting Viper out of Burning Kick as well. If this move is crouched with Viper, it will whiff completely giving you a (very small) window of opportunity to attack him. The recovery IS there, but the move comes out very quick so it’s important to have quick reactions when punishing it.

Dash Low Straight - Besides being similar to the other dash punch moves in its start up, it differs from them by being a low attack, and having the most active frames (8f). The start up is slower which allows you to see it coming and block accordingly. It can still be difficult to block when under pressure however, so it might be a good idea to just block low by default, and react to the Dash Swing Blow which has even slower startup. The low hitbox on this move means it can be beaten by even regular LK Burning Kicks and overheads. All versions of this move EXCEPT EX are punishable by reversal U1 and reversal HP Emergency Combination.
Dash Swing Blow** - The slowest startup of all the dash punches, but must be blocked high. MP and HP versions are slightly punishable on block at -6 and -8, although it can be difficult to determine the strength of the move in the middle of a match. Both HP and EX version gives Balrog 10 frames of advantage on hit allowing him to link afterwards, so it’s very important to recognize this move and block it properly. Breaks armor.

Dash Low Smash - Similar to Dash Low Straight as far as frames go, but can be blocked high or low. Mostly used to move the opponent closer to the corner as it knocks down somewhat far away from Balrog. This move also breaks armor.

Buffalo Head - The closest thing Balrog has to a decent reversal, without having to rely on meter for super armor. LP version has 8 frames of startup so safejump away. After a blocked or whiffed headbutt you have the time to punish with anything and everything so hit him hard. FFF combos on his recovery will help immensely in this matchup as such a strong combo may give you the all-important life lead. Standing next to him as he wakes up and throwing a cr.LK will lower you enough to not get hit by any of the headbutts except the EX version. If you get hit with this move, there’s a good chance you’re going to get U1’ed so be especially careful when he has revenge meter. Each version has 11 active frames so trying to use EX Seismic Hammer against this move unless on his way down might not be a good idea at close range.

Turn Punch - This move can be dangerous for Viper, almost in the same way Viper’s EX Seismic Hammer can be dangerous for every other character. The invincibility frames can be used to avoid attacks and put the hurt on his opponent. Trying to zone with Seismic Hammers at full screen will almost certainly get Turn Punched but remember the charge time also determines the distance he travels. Use this knowledge to predict when you should feint your Seismic Hammer to bait out the Turn Punch. Wether or not Balrog can be punished for this move is heavily dependant on the level of charge and the distance at which you blocked it.

Good Balrogs know Viper’s main weaknesses and will exploit them to no end. It’s the Viper players job to downplay these weaknesses, while at the same time exposing Balrog for his. Staying out of his jab range (while also being aware of his sweep and focus range) is crucial as it can be abused, setting up frame traps, tick throws, or just keeping pressure. Know the proper spacing for Burning Kicks, as smart Balrogs will simply focus attack them, anti-air with cr.HP, or use any myriad of air-to-air normal. Use his need for a back charge against him by crossing him up often, and again, its VERY important to bait and punish Buffalo Head. when trying to anti-air Balrog with HP Thunder Knuckle it’s imperative to be ready to do a trade follow-up. Many of his aerial normals will trade with HP Thunder Knuckle, and it can be a good opportunity to get a little extra damage. The importance of grabbing during his dash punches can not be stressed enough. Again, take advantage of the dash time on most of his specials and fish for counter hits with good normals like cr.MK, but be careful of the super armor on EX moves.

The strongest advantage you have in this matchup is being able to put wakeup pressure on him, so try to make every knockdown count. Meaty hits will stop cr.LP mashers, safe-jumps will stop reversal Buffalo Head, EX dash punches can be grabbed, etc. His U1 is rarely seen outside of combos unless used to punish, and automatically sends you to the corner putting him in excellent postion to abuse his better normals. His most important ULTRA changes are basically the universal ones. Delayed wakeup gives him an opportunity to throw off his opponents oki game, and red focus allows the possibility for squeezing out more damage during a combo.

The perils of Balrogs normals… Notice the close range that PR Rog likes to keep.

Good solid play from Jayce here but PR Balrog knows this matchup very well.

This is what can happen when Viper makes a Balrog too scared to abuse his normals. Jebaily does well here, but gives Latif just a little too much respect. Also pay attention to the range Latif stays at.

An OS for headbutt though just punishing it may yield more damage.

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Blanka: Health 1000, Stun 950

Ugh, Blanka. What can be said about him that hasn’t been said a thousand times? His mobility throws traditional defensive strategies out the window. His defensive game, can be outright frustrating. Blanka’s normal attacks are really the foundation that make him a solid character. None of them are incredibly fast outside of far st.LP, but generally the hitboxes on them and on his specials are so good, he can hit you out of almost anything. His specials are good for stopping other characters’ momentum but some can be punished easily. His combo’s arent flashy but do respectable damage, and his mixup game is quite strong, but not on the level of C.Viper or El Fuerte. Wrap all this up with 2 very strong and useful Ultras and he becomes a very frustrating matchup indeed. All that said, he does take tremendous skill to use at high levels.

-Very fast jump with a great attacking arc
-Great anti-fireball game with slide, coward’s crouch, ex horizontal ball, and U2
-Great anti-air options
-Good footsie normals
-Lots of + frames on blocked electricity
-4 frame U1 which allows for meter free combos to ultra and the ability to punish heavily
-Builds meter well
-Extremely mobile
-Lots of ambiguous mixups and gimmicks
-Fast focus attack


-Slightly below average stun
-Low damage output without a jump in, ultra, or super which hurts his comeback potential
-Horiztonal and vertical balls are very punishable on both hit and block
-Reversals can easily be option selected against
-Hard to break opponents defenses safely
-Must use EX meter for invincible reversal

The problem with the Blanka matchup for Viper is that, while Blanka may be a nuisance for other characters to play, he can be just that much worse to Viper due to her inherent weaknesses. His footsie game can shut many of her options down. His far st.HK can beat Burning Kicks, his far st.LP can poke you and interrupt pressure, his d/f HK slide goes under Thunder Knuckles and can beat EX Seismic Hammer, just to name a few. Viper can punish some of his moves that other characters might have trouble with, but good Blanka players know this and won’t throw out random specials. Her slower normals and special make his hop tough to deal with, and his reversals are great at stopping any less than airtight oki Viper throws out. That, and a Super, U1, and U2 that do nearly 500 damage each, can make getting hit by Blanka the stuff of nightmares.

Rolling Attack - If a Blanka does this to you at random, it probably means he doesn’t know the matchup very well. Block these and you get a free punish with reversal MP or HP Seismic Hammer (EX doesn’t have to be reversal’ed). If you want to hit him out of it, cr.MP, cr.HP, and far st.MK work well to stuff these if you see them coming. Burning Kicks can beat it but it’s quite hard to time them. Alternatively, a neutral jump HK or jump back HK can beat them out pretty easily. Be cautious of the LP version as it stops short, and is often used to set up grabs or electricity. Learn to spot when this is being used to cross you up on your wakeup, or in the corner to start shenanigans.
Backstep Roll** - Again if you block this move, it’s fairly easy to punish. Certain angles might let you HP Thunder Knuckle after, or MP Thunder Knuckle. Seismic Hammer works as well because he does have a small recovery window as he lands. The real news is that EX Thunder Knuckle can punish any version of a blocked Backstep Roll. If you want to stop it before it even hits you, close st.MK can kick him out of it, even the EX one, but the timing and angle need to be good. It can also be anti-aired with HP Thunder Knuckle but often will trade with no follow-up available, because it knocks you down. Can also be focused to avoid worrying about a cross-up.
Vertical Rol**l - This can be troublesome for the Burning Kick happy Viper player. Each version starts in 4 frames, and works as an excellent anti-air. Much like Rolling Attack, Seismic Hammers are usually the weapon of choice for punishing a blocked Vertical Roll. If one whiffs, he does have a bit of landing recovery but it may just be easier to hit him while he’s still in the air. If you’re feeling particularly stylish and you manage to get a whiffed Vertical Roll, you may be able to punish with an EX Thunder Knuckle, sometimes getting only one hit (if you catch him with his feet pointed down), allowing you to juggle into U1 or something else.

**Electric Thunder **- Look out for these at the end of block strings or after he performs hops. Normal versions can be beat out easily enough by an overhead or properly spaced cr.LK, cr.MK, cr.HK, or Seismic Hammer. Can also be used as an anti-air. With the EX version, overhead will trade in Blanka’s favor, but cr.LK, cr.MK, and cr.HK all still work. EX version has become much more useful since Arcade Edition as it starts up in 5 frames, so it’s also a decent reversal. EX version is also very good for chip damage.

As Viper, you almost have to break down Blankas gameplan into different sections as you approach this matchup. What will Blanka likely do at full screen? What might he do at point blank? Knowing his best options will help steer you towards making better decisions, or anticipating the all important punish. Specifically look out for his go-tos like slide (16 active frames makes it hard but not impossible to hit with EX Seismo, if done at close range focus is a good option, or just block and punish at -11 frames on block), hop (can be hit out of the first and last few frames, cr.lp, cr.mp, cr.hp depending on your comfort level), and any reversal he may throw (punish).

On his wakeup, it’s generally not a good idea to do any kind of non safe-jumped attack as his Vertical Roll starts in 4 frames, has a deceptively good hitbox, and auto-corrects easily. Be fully aware of how much meter Blanka has, both EX and revenge, this may tip you off to an EX Backstep Roll or EX Electric Thunder on wakeup, or depending on the level of respect your opponent shows, a wakeup Ultra. Essentially learning how to deal with Blanka’s specials is a main factor of learning the matchup, but having solid Street Fighter fundamentals will help seal the deal. Blankas goal may be to throw you off your defensive game by hopping around and grabbing you so knowing how to tech grabs is helpful. Same thing with footsies, not every Blanka is going to go for the standard mix-ups or random special moves. Know your normals, and look out for counter hits as they give you opportunities for extra damage in a matchup where a life lead can really be helpful. Also keep in mind his charge character nature, use overhead if you know he may be holding down + back at a given moment.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Blankas falling hitbox is strange, it may be difficult for instance to land Burst Time on him as he is falling. Keep this in mind if you don’t want to risk getting punished for a missed Ultra.



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